"They can be seen doing what apparently are totally improper actions, such as kicking, punching in the face, or striking people who are sitting on the floor." Francisco Miralles, the judge investigating the police baton charges of Oct 1st in Barcelona, has decided to investigate four new officers for police violence in the city during the referendum vote. Three took part in the actions at Barcelona’s Pau Claris secondary school and a fourth officer was at the Mediterranean School [both of which were used as polling stations]. In addition, the judge will again question a deputy inspector already investigated over the incidents at these two schools for further assaults on voters.
With these four, there are now 33 officers and commanders being probed by the Spanish police actions in the Catalan capital on Oct 1st, a figure that makes the case the largest legal case against police brutality in terms of the number of people investigated, according to the Barcelona City Council, which is a plaintiff in the case.
It was the Barcelona City Council that asked, two months ago, to investigate up to 24 officers over the incidents at the Pau Claris Secondary School, but in the end the judge dismissed these other requests and limited the investigation only —as regards the action in this polling place— to the three new police to be investigated and the deputy inspector who already was questioned and who will have to respond again regarding other actions. The judge also agreed to press charges over an incident at the Mediterranean School.
The judge for the case decided to broaden the investigation after seeing the videos provided by the plaintiffs. In the case of the Pau Claris Institute, the footage shows the three new officers investigated hitting voters who were sitting on the floor. In addition, the videos also clearly show the deputy inspector who was already being investigated for baton charges at this center and in the Mediterranean School taking part in other police actions that the magistrate considers to be disproportionate.
On this point, the judge's statement explains that the images show this police commander "punching a member of the public in the face" with the same fist that held his truncheon, and "then repeatedly kicking people who were sitting on the floor".
As this police officer already testified before the judge a few months ago for the two operations at the Mediterranean School and the Pau Claris Institute, the judge has ruled that his statement regarding these new assaults can be made via videoconference.
The case of the new officer probed over the actions at the Mediterranean School, involves a police officer who struck the back of the neck of an unidentified voter with a truncheon at least twice when he was already on the ground. So far no date has been set yet for his testimony, while the officers investigated for their actions at the IES Pau Claris will testify on February 11.